A Droid Premiere – Solomon Kane (2010)
The past year or so has seen a few films given the ol’ screwjy by distributors and the so called “film community”. Outlander was overlooked. Centurion got hard done by. And Solomon Kane lasted in UK cinemas for a grand total of one week. One fucking week! Oh, sure. That’s understandable. Joe Public is dumbshit enough to demand fifteen screens of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, why spare one for a decent film? Honestly, someone needs to take Joe out the back and put him out of my misery.
Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is a murdering, greedy sinner. After a scuffle with his scumbag older brother turns tragic, Solomon, the second heir to a well to do family, flees and devotes his life to greedily conquering and pilfering foreign lands. But when he escapes with his life after encountering the devils reaper intent on claiming his soul, he wisely changes his tune and becomes a man of peace. After finding sanctuary in a monastery, he is banished without (seeming) reason. Soon after, Solomon encounters the old adage “the sins of the father are visited on the son”, while laying waste to man and sorcerer alike.
My blade is hotter than yours! Medieval penis measuring.
This is a cracking film. It barrels along at pace, and is committed to an atmosphere and “vision” that never falters. The films opening sets the scene, with Solomon nonchalantly committing bloody murder to all in his path, only to encounter a being more than his match. Fleeing as a recluse to a monastery, and as a man of peace, he quickly gets shunted out. The story must continue of course. While travelling to who knows where, he meets William Crowthorn (Pete Postlethwaite) and family, including jailbait daughter Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood). I won’t delve too much in to the plot, but needless to say, to save his soul he must rescue the fair maiden.
James Purefoy as Solomon, is suitably heroic, stoic, yet conflicted. Classic hero stuff. After his encounter in the opening scenes, he’s on the straight and narrow. But he has encountered true evil, and his new found sense of right and wrong steers him in the right direction. He will gladly accept his punishment for a life of sin if he can keep his promise.
Are you serious? You don’t know who Keyser Soze is?
Purefoy does a good job of handling what is a pretty stereotypical character, but keeping him interesting, in a dark, brooding kind of way. The invaluable Pete Postlethwaite adds class and believability to the film during the first section. He’s such an overlooked actor, grounding a fantastic film in a cloak of believability. And the likes of the seemingly immortal Max Von Sydow, Mackenzie Crook and Jason Flemyng show up to add some class to proceedings. One question. What’s with Flemyng always being heavily doused in heavy make-up?
Based on the pulp magazine by Robert E. Howard, Solomon Kane was finally adapted for the screen, written and directed by Michael J. Bassett. Bassett certainly has an eye for the epic, and has taken a semi-modest budget and made an impressive film. Solomon Kane looks great, with it’s rain drenched villages, period setting and devilish beasties always convincing. While the script isn’t exactly what you’d call Shakespeare (such a cliché, I know), it’s perfectly suitable to the story at hand.
The film really does look fantastic.
As I’ve said, the film, shot by Dan Laustsen, looks great. There’s an epic feel to it, and the rain soaked vistas of Britain (actually shot in the Czech Republic) are terrific. This would be a brilliant double feature with the similarly themed (and overlooked) ‘Centurion’.
There’s a lot of Catholic imagery in this film, and to be quite honest, I found it a little bit distracting from the central story. Of course, the story features our hero on a quest to save his soul, but some of the imagery is a little bit much. But ultimately it doesn’t effect the enjoyment of the film.
The Passion of Solomon Kane
I would like, at this point, to inform you that at one time Solomon Kane was to be produced by old mate Don Murphy: Hollywood Bigshot. Alas it was not to be as he let the property slip through his greasy burrito stained fingers. And let us all let out a collective sigh of relief for that. Sometimes the stars do align, and a bloated, cretinous colostomy bag doesn’t leech his infectious lack of talent on the worthy.
Wrapping up, Solomon Kane is a terrific entertainment, and one that has, once again, been absolutely fucked in the ass on release. I encourage you to seek it out, order a pizza, grab a few beers (or whatever your tipple) and put the feet up. You won’t be sorry.
Special Guest Star: Jarv!
Since I am bound to journalistic integrity, I will stipulate for the record that for this film and this review my tipple was a substantial portion of Johnny Walker Green Label chased with Becks. Yum.